23 December 2013

The Naturalness of a Swedish Christmas

Swedish Christmasses are absolutely inspiring and beautiful, and quite different to any others. They are not particularly ‘yo-ho-ho’, or tinselly, they are natural, earthy, and somewhat pagan – which appeals to my Presbyterian background and desire for simplicity.

St Lucia Day
Swedish Christmas holidays start with celebrations at home and in church of St Lucia Day (mid-December). For many of Nordic origins, Lucia is the bearer of light in their cold, dark winters. She comes with candles in her hair, pure white dress (with a red sash), bringing hot beverages and pastries. 
I first came across this charming ceremony after seeing St Lucia Day – Christmas in Sweden (1908) by Carl Larrson. His use of light, and depictions of domestic life played out in folksy room interiors – all painted furniture, painted everything pretty much  – made him a HUGE influence on me. 

Carl Larsson’s Country Look
It was Larsson who re-introduced Swedish painted furniture to everybody. It had been big in the 18th century in the countryside, and in grand houses, because they had ample amounts of wood to paint. Like William Morris he romanticized going back to one’s roots, to making handmade things. Larsson used the traditional colours of Sweden – the wonderful pinky and browny reds that are native to the country in the natural pigments. Just take a look at these two interiors below of Christmas and family life.
 Girl and Rocking Chair (1907)
Christmas Morning 1894
Together with his wife Karin, Larsson revived a kind of provincial 'Gustavian' style in their timber cottage Lilla HyttnäsNamed after Gustav III, the original Gustavian style was grand, all white painted rooms with pale furniture on lime-washed floorboards (copying the French court of Versailles). The Larssons’ twist was more bohemian, using earthy red sienna colours and ochres. Larsson hand painted all his furniture and some of the details depicted here are exquisite. I have always been influenced by Larsson’s colour choice and of course we have our own Scandinavian Pink.

Getting Ready for a Game 1901
I also have a personal love for the Swedish way of doing things (be it celebrations or room interiors) as my granddaughter is part Swedish! A

Happy Christmas!

Yours, Annie
PS I will be going to Sweden next year in connection with a new book!

18 June 2013

What is Chalk Paint®?

You may have noticed that there has been some confusion recently about what Chalk Paint® is. I would like to help make things clearer.

So what is Chalk Paint®? 

Chalk Paint® is the brand name for the decorative paint that I (Annie Sloan) developed over 20 years ago. Back in 1990, there was no paint available with the properties I was looking for, so I decided to develop my own. I chose the name “Chalk Paint” because it was suggestive of its very matt—almost chalky—finish. There had never been a paint called by this name or made in the same way as mine before.

There are paints that contain whiting ('whiting' is the equivalent of chalk in the paint-making world), such as gesso and calcimine or distemper. There are also paints made with lime, such as whitewash. 

Chalk Paint® is different. It is not paint with chalk added to it. It is not chalkboard paint. It is not made by adding plaster of Paris or grout or even baking soda to an existing paint. Chalk Paint® is the unique decorative paint I developed for furniture, floors and walls, drawing on a lifetime of research and experience in working with paint and colour.

There are many paint products out there with different things to offer and I think it's wonderful that there are so many choices available to consumers. I'm also very happy that so many people have such an interest in paint making. I have written several books about making paint and traditional paint recipes – I love making paint too!

But just to be clear: there is only one Chalk Paint®.
Chalk Paint® is Annie Sloan paint.

Yours, Annie

9 March 2013

I'm Missing France

We haven't been to France for a while so I started thinking about the houses and the colours.  So much so that tonight we are off to France to our house in Normandy. We'll probably get frostbite - there is no heating in the house except a big log fire, some 'slow to have effect' electric heaters and hot water bottles.  It'll take ages to warm the house and then well be coming home. 

But the colours will be good 
and the patinas That'll keep me warm...
Positive colour but so beautifully toned it doesn't look loud or shouty.  
This is in the north of France on the Normandy coast - in historic and ancient Honfleur - it was under English rule in the 14th century, it's  where French settlers left to for Quebec in 1608, and many of the Impressionists lived and worked in the area 
Coco with some Old White might do it or even some Paloma in it ? 
Greek Blue and some Old White or maybe some Louis Blue 
Of course the shape of the door is beautiful and the lamp post looks like Louis Blue. The top of the widow has a very pale Paloma look about it - interesting combinations I think. 
Country Grey 
French Linen
Old White door and dirtied and slightly whitened Greek Blue
Old Ochre and make the green with maybe Florence and French Linen 
This is the town of Eymet in Aquitaine and one of the old Bastide towns - meaning they are medieval fortified villages. They are little changed and quite magical.  This one is one of the most touristy.  I was there to run a workshop for a stockist of mine. 
Provence - the shutters are this colour 
The shutter catch on a house in Bergerac although they are seen all over France. 

Olive or Chateau Grey mix with Provence

                                      à bientôt, Annie !

                                  ( see you soon) 

PS . Have a look at our list of stockist in France - distributed by Claire in Brittany.  We have a new one in Cherbourg.... yippee! 

21 February 2013


We have just started selling Chalk Paint® and my other products in Australia and New Zealand so I was in Melbourne and Sydney last week training the eight new stockists we have. 
And what a great bunch they were!  

Colours & Iron Lace

I was born in Sydney on the harbour in Cremorne and then later lived about 30 minutes north of Sydney until I was 10 years old, when my family took me kicking and screaming to live in England.
Early memories make a lasting impression. I remember well the old buildings, ironwork and lovely verandahs. 

Iron Lace is the beautiful iron work decorating the houses of Australia

Burgundy Red & Aubusson Blue

Victorian colours picking out the different parts of the decoration

I remember old houses like this in Sydney - green and cream 
Old Ochre 
Primer Red

I am so very thrilled that my paint is now in Australia & New Zealand - coming home!  
If you want to know who the stockists are visit my web site below. 

27 January 2013

  Cuba Colour 


Provence + Greek Blue + Old White 

Barcelona Orange
Scandinavian Pink with some Emperors Silk

French Linen
The colour of the car with the yellow and deep red in the background
Primer Red 

English Yellow
The car has a top of Aubusson Blue
For the main part with the car I'd make a greenish grey with Paris Grey mix with some Chateau Grey. The chrome lines are terrific too - maybe with some aluminium leaf. 

Old Violet
Greek Blue with Old White
 Streets in Havana are full of colour and beautiful architecture and all unspoilt by absolutely NO advertising, road markings and all the usual things that spoil streets in the rest of the world.
So refreshing and inspiring.